Breathing is something we all do. It is a voluntary physiological mechanism. We inhale, we exhale, all day long all night long, all our lives. Sometimes we are conscious or aware of our breathing – maybe in a yoga class or when training for a specific sport or activity – but most of the time, it is happening in the background of our everyday lives. In and out, inhale and exhale, through the day and the night.

Our breath is our life and improving the quality of our breathing has the potential to improve the quality of our well-being and the quality of our lives generally. There are many different ways to breathe and the way that we breathe will affect the way we feel. Some breathing helps us feel relaxed and steadies the mind; while other ways of breathing can do the opposite,  leaving us light headed, dizzy and disoriented. How we breathe and the quality of each breath is the focus of the exercises taught at The Breathing Practice. By gently focusing our attention on our breathing during our practice we can help quieten a busy mind and bring a general sense of well-being to our whole being.

The exercises taught at The Breathing Practice are based on a combination of ancient yoga breathing techniques (known as pranayama), breathing exercises used when training as a Freediver (that is, diving under the water on a single breath) and other exercises developed to assist people suffering with lung conditions such as asthma. The exercises we practice enhance your awareness of your breathing and give you a sense of control over your breathing.

The overall practice is particularly good for reducing anxiety and the exercise known as ‘boxed breathing’ is particular good at calming a troubled mind and combatting panic attacks. This is a simple exercise of breathing and breath holds performed in a regular pattern that brings the mind and body into a steady state almost immediately. The exercise is straightforward: we inhale, hold, then exhale, hold. Each inhale and hold, and each exhale and hold is for the same duration. For example, we inhale for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, then exhale for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts. We can increase this to an inhale/ hold /exhale/ hold of 6 counts and maybe even 8 counts depending on how we are feeling.  If we were to represent this exercise visually, it would draw the shape of a box – hence the name ‘boxed breathing’. This pattern of inhale/ hold /exhale/ hold can be repeated for as long as suits – for example up to 6 minutes, or more.

In our classes at The Breathing Practice, we practice boxed breathing in most if not all classes, starting with an inhale for 4 counts etc. All class participants love this exercise and say it gives them a sense of deep relaxation and stillness.

I hope you will join me for some classes at The Breathing Practice and share with me the benefits and goodness obtained from simple breathing exercises.


The Breathing Practice | About Breathing